Wednesday, December 03, 2014

How to Plan and Organize a Successful Movember

Erik Abderhalden

Movember is a month-long, worldwide fundraising effort where men put down their razors for a month and grow a mustache to raise money and awareness for men's health programs - namely prostate and testicular cancer.

Rightpoint has participated in Movember the past three years and I've helped organize and plan the festivities for the last two. In three years, Rightpoint has raised over $12,000 and Movember only gets bigger each year. Here are my tips on how to plan and organize a successful Movember at your company.

Start planning early

You can't decide on October 31st that you're going to organize Movember at your company. According to my calendar, the first Movember planning meeting of 2014 was held in early August. Start early so you can define the Movember team who will help you plan, organize, and facilitate Movember at your company.

Time does fly. I suggest that if you're really serious about Movember, hold bi-weekly meetings every week until November when they turn into weekly meetings. Things to think about when you're planning this far out include a communications strategy, rules, goals, employee engagement, and having a capstone Movember party. I'll cover all of these in this post.

Create your own rules and schedule

Movember technically has rules, but rules are meant to be broken. I encourage you to make a set of rules that fit your company and a schedule that accommodates Thanksgiving.

When I talk about creating your own rules, I speak of creating rules that accommodate your company's culture. While you may want to be a stickler and enforce a clean shaven policy effective at midnight November 1, keeping track of details like that across a company is like herding cats.

To simplify the process for everyone at Rightpoint we allow participants to be either clean-shaven or maintain what they have. The key difference is our participant fee: $20 for clean-shaven, $35 for non-shaved. All of this is done on the honor system. And, as far as we're concerned, giving people an opportunity to get a head-start for a fee helps the fund-raising effort. Not to mention, it helps those who are follically challenged to participate more robustly.

Additionally, create a schedule that gives adequate time for mustache growth and accommodates Thanksgiving. We found that this helps participation since many families use Thanksgiving to take holiday pictures and having family members with facial hair for those was sometimes not embraced. For example, Righpoint started Movember on November 1st this year and our Movember event was held on November 21st. We've started in late October in years past. However you do it, make sure you give at least three weeks of growth time.

Set goals and break them

Setting goals is easy, but it's more difficult to set realistic goals. Consider setting two goals at two levels: individual and company.

I recommend setting the individual goal first before setting the company goal. Rightpoint had a base registration fee, but all participants were strongly encouraged to raise at least $50. I found the amount to be neither difficult nor too easy. We then estimated the number of estimated participants multiplied by a registration fee plus some to set our company goal.

Once your fundraising is in full-swing and you need assistance to help get you to your ultimate goal, consider an extrinsic motivator and set a sub-goal. At Rightpoint we set a sub-goal that if we raised a certain amount of money our cofounders will wear an adult, mustache onesie for an entire day. The pictures are forth-coming.

Get everyone involved and keep them engaged

Movember isn't just for the guys or those who can grow facial hair; it's for everyone. Or as they say in Movember speak, it's for all the Mo Bros and Mo Sistas. When we hold our Movember event, we have a panel of judges comprised of both genders.

To help keep engagement high throughout Movember, I post pictures of famous mustaches to Yammer using the hashtag #stacheoftheday. It's simple, but it's engaging and it really helps make Movember a permanent water cooler topic for the entire month.

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Additionally even our beer kegs got in on the fun. On our Pourcast app, which monitors the levels of beer we have, all month long the kegs sported different mustaches and it became a contest as to who could identify the mustaches.

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Have fun

Movember only comes once a year and the first value of Movember is to create fun. What better way to celebrate the growth of your mustache and the funds your raised by having a little party?

So instead of just gathering around and eating food, have participants strut their stache in front of the company and try to woo judges with their mad upper-lip follicle prowess. Not a judge and you can't or won't grow a mustache? Wear an adhesive mustache instead and enjoy the show.

Once everyone flaunts their mustache, have coworkers vote on categories. Categories at Rightpoint's Movember this year included Creeper, Most Suave, Mountain Man, Freestyle, and My First Mustache. Additionally, the individual who raises the most money wins Most Compassionate Stache.

What's worked well for us is to have a panel of judges determine the best in show, who is bestowed a "trophy" belt to hold onto all year, while all attendees can vote for other categories. Again, Movember is for charity, so why not have it cost $1 per vote? This year we raised $300 alone when he held our Movember party.

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Our 2014 Best in Show winner Brian Hulse.

Additionally, since your Movember party is most likely happening after work hours, respect your coworker's time outside of work and timebox activities. After all our participants strutted their stache, voting was open for 10 minutes and tallying the votes took another 10 minutes. Between the time we started and ended our Movember party this year, it took one hour, though many stayed afterwards and enjoyed the festivities.

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All of our 2014 Movember participants.

Hopefully after reading this blog you have some ideas about how to plan and organize a successful Movember at your company and are able to create an event that your coworkers will look forward to for months on end.

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